Homily Five on the Ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ
Ascribed to St. John Chrysostom
The day of the Master’s ascension is upon us. Many have travelled here, and the Father has encouraged even him, who is ill-equipped to preach. Indeed, we were thinking it would be right to cover our ineloquence with a veil of silence, and hide the magnitude of our ignorance. But because you, along with the Father and the powers above, have been urging us to address you who have assembled here in such numbers, and with them, you request that we speak about that which David long ago exclaimed concerning the ascension of the Master—“Lift up your gates, O princes, and be lifted up, O eternal gates: and the King of Glory shall enter in”—Come then, let us also celebrate the things pertaining to this day.
For today our Master Christ goes up to his father’s throne; today, he who was incarnated sits down with the Father; not that he was first separated from him, nor that he now sits with him for the first time, for he has always rested in the bosom of the Father, alone containing the Father, and alone contained by the Father. For “I”, he said, “am in the Father, and the Father in me”; and the Word is in the Father and the Word is on the earth. Not descending and leaving the Father’s bosom empty, nor ascending into heaven and leaving the earth empty of his presence; but both living together with men, and sitting together with the Father; and both sitting together with the Father, and not separated from men. For “be sure of this”, he says, “I am with you always, to the very the end of the age.” Today the Μaster Christ is taking himself away from men and into heaven; not being taken like Enoch, nor going up towards heaven in a fiery chariot like Elijah, but ascending
, so that he may send the power of the Holy Spirit to his disciples.